Donald Trump frustrated with pace of super PAC
Trump advisers first shared the plans in late February for a super PAC as part of a post-presidency political operation. Trump told allies at the time that he'd chosen his onetime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to run the organization, but roughly one month later, the 45th president has started lashing out about the lack of movement on the project, sources said.
The sources, one of whom heard the comments from Trump directly, said the former president is agitated that there has been little tangible or visible progress on establishing the super PAC and ramping up activity in the month since the idea for the new super PAC was first made public.
“He’s lashing out that nothing’s happening. He viewed this super PAC as something that’s supposed to have his back, and it’s nowhere to be found,” one source said.
The two sources spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss conversations involving the former president.
Trump, through a spokesperson, denied that he is frustrated with the progress around the super PAC, with adviser Jason Miller calling the assertion “100 percent false.”
Corey Lewandowski separately rejected the criticism of the super PAC's slow ramp-up. He said in an interview that he does not take a salary, and he argued it takes time to properly stand up such a large operation, noting the Federal Election Commission only requires quarterly filings. Lewandowski said Trump had not expressed frustration to him at any point about the super PAC.
A super PAC can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money, though it cannot contribute directly to a politician or political party. One source said Trump has pushed for a board to oversee the nascent super PAC's spending.
The sources that spoke with The Hill about Trump’s frustrations, however, said Lewandowski's place in Trump's orbit is not in jeopardy.
Lewandowski was Trump's first campaign manager upon launching his presidential bid in 2015 and served in the role until he was fired in June 2016. He has since remained a recurring presence in Trump's orbit, visiting the then-president at the White House regularly, serving as a senior adviser to America First Policies, an outside group that promoted Trump's agenda, and writing multiple positive books about Trump.
He has been advising South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) in recent months as Noem weighs a potential 2024 run, and he is also said to be playing a role in recruiting candidates to challenge Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of impeaching Trump in January.
Trump has separately issued endorsements through the Save America leadership PAC, and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump associates are trying to launch a network to take on establishment politicians.
Questions about when the Trump-aligned super PAC might take shape come as the former president has in recent days become more visible, giving interviews to Fox News and Newsmax on Monday to rail against the Biden administration's immigration policies.
He has announced a slew of endorsements in recent weeks, mostly of senators facing smooth reelection bids. Trump on Monday endorsed Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) to challenge Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who repeatedly affirmed the results of the state's presidential election results even as Trump, Hice and others spread unproven claims about voter fraud.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson seized on Tuesday’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to casually suggest to his viewers that the American government knows that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.”
Former President Trump is showing no signs of wanting to unify the GOP even as party leaders scramble to smooth out divisions that they fear will be damaging in the 2022 midterm elections. In a Saturday night speech to attendees at a donor retreat in Florida, Trump railed against his perceived enemies in both parties and offered little, if any, reassurance that he would try to rally together a GOP riddled with internal divisions and desperate to regain governing power in Washington.
The chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League told Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch on Monday an award it gave his father a decade ago “does not absolve you, him, the network, or its board from the moral failure of not taking action” against the Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Jonathan Greenblatt has called for Carlson to be fired for advocating “white replacement” theory, a racist trope which holds that the Democratic party favors unlimited immigration in order to boost its vote.
Facebook allowed the president of Honduras to artificially inflate the appearance of popularity on his posts for nearly a year after the company was first alerted to the activity. The astroturfing – the digital equivalent of a bussed-in crowd – was just one facet of a broader online disinformation effort that the administration has used to attack critics and undermine social movements, Honduran activists and scholars say. Facebook posts by Juan Orlando Hernández, an authoritarian rightwinger whose 2017 re-election is widely viewed as fraudulent.